Some months ago, my son volunteered me to be a parent volunteer for one of his school outings. When I say he volunteered me, it means I only found out I was to be a parent volunteer after he told his teacher I would be more than happy to be a parent volunteer.
I decided to take the morning off from work to do it anyway. The boys were brought on a social studies tour of Fort Canning Park and since I grew up playing at this very park in the city when I was in the primary school next door, the trip had extra meaning for me.
I had almost forgotten how lovely Fort Canning is. Lush greenery in the midst of the city, clean air and the sounds of birds (and some cars and construction as well).
It made me feel thankful that we still have pockets of nature here in Singapore, filled with history and stories of Singapore. I think it is awesome to have so many trees in Singapore, kudos to our NParks folks.
So when Kleenex asked me be part of their Forest Stewardship Council campaign, I agreed. All you have to do is to take a pledge to make small changes in your own home that will improve the environment for future generations, at their Facebook page, and for every 20 pledges collected, Kleenex will sponsor the planting of a tree in a local park.
I made my pledge and also placed a wish on the Wishing Tree.
Some of the little things I pledge to do to save the world (and some I am already doing) is to make sure we don't leave the lights and fans on when we don't use them. My kids know the familiar refrain from their father: "Who left the fan on in the room again?"
It is strange to hear myself saying stuff like this, stuff my father used to say to his sons. I guess it rubs off on you.
I also have a slightly bad habit of grabbing more than one tissue from the tissue box each time. I don't know why I do it. Maybe I think two tissues are better than one. I shall use tissues more sparingly from now on.
My children are also taught not to waste water when they wash their hands or bathe. And from their grandma, my kids learn that water used for washing rice and vegetables can be reused for watering plants.
For sale: doorway chin-up bar. Used once only. Owner just bought to train for IPPT.
[via Ben Looi]
In other news, you need to do 60 push-ups in one minute to get the maximum 25 points in the new IPPT. And if you did 60 push-ups in a minute, and 60 sit-ups in a minute, you can walk for your 2.4km and still pass.
The Minster of Defence has announced that NS IPPT will be reduced to 2.4km run, push-ups and sit-ups.
Now Lao Peng can say, "In MY time, IPPT was FIVE stations, ok? 2.4km, sit-ups, chin-ups, shuttle run and standing broad jump! And push-ups were used for punishment only. Last time, we collected rubber bands as we ran around the stadium, ok? And the black swimming trunks DAMN ugly, can? You young punks are so lucky."
@Miyagi thinks that next year IPPT will be reduced to one station: slow walk to canteen break.
I think in the near future, it may be even further reduced to 2.4m slow walk to the secret smoking point. And your maid can do for you. Reservists (NSmen) in their 30s or older are allowed to let their NSF sons do their reservist IPPT for them.
In view of the new shortened three-station IPPT, IPPT will be renamed IPT, Individuals Pass Together.
Because of the reduced need for Physical Training Instructors (PTIs), half of the current PTI force will be sent to Guardsmen and Commando course for upgrading. The remaining PTIs will be sent for Encouragement training, to help them cheer servicemen on during the new reduced IPPT, in the four national languages.
PTIs will also now need to provide high-fives and group hugs.
There will be no pass or fail or gold or whatever in the new reduced IPPT. Servicemen will fall under broad categories of Well Done, Not Bad and Good Effort. This is to ensure that they do not feel discouraged by any physical fitness shortcomings and damage their fragile self-esteem.
RT will also cease to stand for Remedial Training. It will end years of soldiers using the term wrongly, as in "You kena RT training ah?", as that would mean one is saying "You have Remedial Training training ah?".
It's like people who say ATM machine.
RT will now stand for Relaxing Tekong. Servicemen who feel like they should do better for the new IPPT can opt to go for Relaxing Tekong, a new spa, facial and fitness centre located on exotic Pulau Tekong, to improve their wellness.
With the new reduced three-station IPPT introduced, the chin-up bars at public park fitness corners will be re-purposed for use in MRT trains for standing passengers.
As push-ups are now part of the official IPPT, the new military punishment will be twenty mild squats.
BREAKING NEWS: The Ministry of Defence Fitness (MINDEFF) would like to clarify that the new IPPT is push-ups, sit-ups and a 24km run.
They apologize for the extra decimal point.
MINDEFF also announced that if servicemen do not wish to do the 24km run, they can opt for the alternative three-station IPPT where you do the sit-ups and push-ups… while doing the 2.4km run. Below ten minutes. To pass.
Seems that the NCPG updated the banner at their website almost immediately after Germany won the 2014 World Cup. To which the internet replied, "Quick, Andy! Tell us which team your dad is betting on next!"
Also, if you didn't know, Messi won the Golden Ball award. What they didn't tell you was that Suarez won the Golden Tooth.
And in other news, we found a very rare photo of Andy and his father…
And so we have come to the end of the World Cup and Germany beat Argentina at the finals with one goal by Götze, the super Sub, in the final moments of extra time. The first time a European team has ever won on South American soil.
Good on them, allowing the kids to come in later because of World Cup.
In other news, the World's Saddest Fan from Brazil has a larger story behind him.
The elderly Brazilian gentleman, somewhat of an icon in Brazil, who personified the sadness of a proud footballing nation trounced 7-1 by Germany in the semis, gave his trophy to a young German fan after the match and reportedly told her: "Leve ela até a final! Como podes ver, não é fácil, mas vocês MERECEM. Glückwünsche" ("Take it to the final! It’s not easy, but you deserve it. Congratulations.")
So I told the wife I was going to watch some #GER vs #BRA action and she looked at me funny. It was to be the first free game on tv and boy did we get goals.
5 goals from Germany in the first 28 minutes alone. Then just when I thought the second half was going to be boring, another 2 more from Germany and a pity goal from Brazil's Oscar in the ninetieth minute. The last time I saw a score like this was FIFA 14.
When Brazil finally scored that courtesy goal, my friend on FB wrote, "So you guys think this is going to penalties or what?"
Meanwhile, on our tv screens, Singtel's tv hosts remind us that their World Cup hashtag is #mioBrazil. How apt. Because it is truly #沒有Brazil liao.
At least Americans will now say, "Wow, this soccer thing is pretty neat! So many goals, like American Football liddat!"
Today sure got discount on Brazillian World Cup jersey one.
And in summary of this Germany vs Brazil match:
You hear the thunder, wind and pitter-patter outside? That's the tears of Brazil reaching Singapore.
"There is surely no free lunch… The Government is committed to ensure the affordability of public transport fares. However, regular fare adjustments are still necessary to ensure the overall financial sustainability of the public transport system." says Lui Tuck Yew.
Fares NEED to increase leh. Thanks ah, Transport Minister! Thanks!
Here I thought the the whole point of the bus contracting model was to keep prices competitive and services efficient. Silly me.
Once upon a time, three navies responded to a pirate attack.
The Singapore Navy said they arrived first. And then in brotherhood, solidarity and ASEAN cooperation with the Malaysian and Indonesian navies, who arrived later but were just as brave and instrumental to the event, fended off the pirates.
The Malaysian Navy said they came and fended off the pirates, with assistance of the Singaporean and Indonesian navies.
The Indonesian Navy said they plan to name their next ship after the pirates.
When the road caved in near the intersection of Jalan Pudu and Jalan Imbi in KL, where tunneling was happening for the Pudu underpass project, the internets responded swiftly with a photoshop meme. Here are some of the interpretations of what caused the sink holes, sent to me by my intrepid Twitter followers.
My favourite one is the Suarez one above.
There was also King Kong…
Godzilla was also blamed…
Optimus Prime was fighting in KL too, it seems…
Even Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's wife Rosmah and her big hair wasn't spared…
Megatron can always be counted on to cause destruction…
Maybe it was this giant dog?
Hey look, it's everyone's favourite bomoh!
Ayam vs Hippo, who will win?
Ultraman! Only you can save us!
Loki shouldn't have been playing with Thor's hammer lor…
Finally, this image below got some laughs. Later it was clarified that the duct tape was used to monitor earth movement, and not to repair the cracks. The Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department seemed rather miffed and said that "it is not a joke or something to be made fun of".
Now that school has reopened, and the holidays are over, I can finally get down to writing about the little holiday I took with the family in June.
We didn't really plan anything so I just booked a stay in a hotel in JB, Malaysia for three days. I know what you are thinking, what is there in JB? Well, I can tell you that JB has three things going for it.
1. It is near.
2. It has affordable and good Malaysian food.
3. The hotel has a pool and a mall attached to it.
Sightseeing was not on the agenda. My kids just like the idea of a hotel stay (and staycations in Singapore cost a bomb), being able to swim at the hotel pool, and hanging out at the mall. The wife was happy to just shop in ringgit and my mother could get some marketing done too. Isaac, Faith, my wife, my mom and my helper went by the little family car. Joy and I took the bus over. Yes, I took public transport to JB.
Given the mode of travel, the one thing I wanted to do was to pack as little as possible. I managed to squeeze three days worth of clothes, toiletries, and electronics in this little 20L Deuter daypack. When I say electronics, I mean my Sony A7 camera with two lenses and my iPad Air. That was it. No laptop, no PS Vita, and no bulky headphones. I just wanted to chill with the family, and maybe listen to some music or watch a tv show or movie on the iPad Air if there was time.
Enter the Klipsch R6 and R6i (with iPhone remote). This is the replacement for the Klipsch S4 (and S4i), the entry-level earphones that I used and liked in 2011 (how time flies!). And just like the last time, I experienced the Klipsch while on a trip.
For the purposes of this review, I used the R6i, with the iPhone remote. The R6i surprised me. If you didn't tell me they are meant to be entry level earphones, I would not have thought they were. The signature S4 sound is still there, but vastly improved. First of all, that sibilance that used to be fairly pronounced on the S4 is pretty much gone. Second of all, the build quality has gone up significantly, using aluminum and elastomer for a more high-end look. The headphone jack, a critical part, looks reinforced, which means better protection from failure.
The bass is punchy but not overwhelming. The mids are now less muddy compared to the S4 series it replaces. In fact, I could hear details that I didn't used to get from the S4. I also felt the sound was slightly warmer. You could say that the R6i is a more refined brother of the S4i.
The best way I can describe the R6 is that it is balanced. Soundstage has also improved over its predecessor. And the new flat cable is much better, making the R6 less prone to tangling.
It is very diminutive when you pack it for travel. Even in its pouch, the package is slim. I shoved it into my pants pocket when I wanted to take it along, and other times, I just shoved it with its pouch into my backpack. It was light, small and got out of the way, and rarely got tangled up.
The oval ear-buds, a Klipsch thing, made the R6i very comfortable for long periods of use. The remote control on the R6i is also nice, with the play button being obvious to the touch, while the volume controls are flush with the remote. This means that without looking, you can locate the single bump of the play button very easily instead of being confused by three bumps.
I normally burn in my earphones by playing them for more than 20 hours before using them, but the R6i was something I just grabbed for the trip and used. Sounded great out of the box, which I didn't expect. After hours of using it on the road, it sounded even better.
Oh, how could I leave you without photos of our little vacation, right? Here are the kids enjoying the heck out of the hotel pool, which even had a dinosaur theme pool area.
The yellow float cost me ten ringgit to rent, which was ok, I guess. I rented two floats so the kids wouldn't fight over it.
Faith totally loved the holiday. We let her swim all she wanted, and there were no plane rides (not her most favorite thing). And I got to eat all the lovely street food in JB, and even squeezed in some time for a late night massage with the wife.
Not bad for a last-minute holiday.
Klipsch SEA is giving away 20 pairs of Klipsch R6/R6i! All you have to do is to answer a few questions in their quick survey and you will automatically stand a chance to win a pair!